Sadly, Matins didn’t fully record yet again. Since I’m unable to record any video at the moment, I encourage you to go through the Congregation at Prayer on your own and then read my thoughts (below) after you’ve read today’s reading.
“Love, Hatred, and Persecution”
In today’s assigned text, Jesus says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” In John’s first epistle to the church, he worded it like this, “we love because he first loved us.” But Jesus doesn’t stop there in our text. In verse 18, He goes on to say that we also will be hated by the world as He was first hated, and persecuted by the world as He was first persecuted. Why? Because, “a servant is not greater than his master.”
To be a Christian means to be a “little Christ”. You received His holy name in your baptism, and so, as the Father sent Christ to love the world and, along with that, to be hated and persecuted, so also are we sent by Christ into the world to love in our vocations and, along with that, to be hated and persecuted, too. To be “hated” here means to be disregarded and ignored because of one’s confession of faith in Christ. To be “persecuted” means to be pursued for attack, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, again because of one’s confession of faith in Christ. Even if you’re not hunted down and attacked by unbelievers in this world (or even those who are nominally Christian), you are hunted down and attacked daily by Satan and your own sinful flesh.
Thankfully, Jesus continues, “But when the Helper comes […] he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” While Jesus is speaking to the Twelve here, what is implied is for us as well. When He says “you have been with me from the beginning” He’s also saying that He was with them, and because He was with them, He also is with us who uphold His word through them. Be encouraged with this today as you strive to follow his command to love one another as He has loved you and endure hatred and persecution for your confession of faith in Him.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.